Video> “Oh Heck Yeah” turns downtown Denver into a communal video arcade

City Terrain, Southwest, Urbanism
Thursday, August 28, 2014
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A series of custom, family friendly video games occupied three blocks of downtown Denver this summer. (Courtesy Oh Heck Yeah)

A series of custom, family friendly video games occupied three blocks of downtown Denver this summer. (Courtesy Oh Heck Yeah)

Whatever you may think of video games (new media art form, societal ill, lame waste of time) there was no avoiding them in downtown Denver this summer. From June 7 to July 26, three blocks of Champa Street between 14th Street and the 16th Street Mall were transformed into one big video arcade. Known as Oh Heck Yeah, the project assembled local and national arts groups and businesses to activate this stretch of turf with a variety of programming centered around a series of custom designed, family friendly video games. Designed by Denver-based creative teams Legwork Studio and Mode Set, the games were played on the Theatre District’s giant LED screens.

Continue reading after the jump.

A Watershed Moment: Floating LilyPads use nanotechnology to fight water pollution

(Courtesy Puralytics)

(Courtesy Puralytics)

While architects often dream of floating houses and cities of the future, a new floating technology is promising to clean up our waterways. The winner of the 2014 Disrupt-O-Meter award is Puralytics, for the innovative technology that’s at the root of the LilyPad, a floating, portable water purification device that works without chemicals, consumables, or power.

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Reminder: Registration ends soon for the vision42design competition

(Courtesy vision42design)

(Courtesy vision42design)

The vision42design competition to rethink and redesign the entire length of New York City’s 42nd Street was launched last April by AN and The Institute for Rational Urban Mobility. Entrants in the competition have the opportunity to not only rethink this important street but transform Manhattan at its core and become a model for major urban thoroughfares worldwide.

Continue reading after the jump.

Rockefeller Foundation opens its “100 Resilient Cities Challenge”

100 Resilient Cities Challenge is now open to applicants. (Courtesy 100 Resilient Cities Challenge)

100 Resilient Cities Challenge is now open to applicants. (Courtesy 100 Resilient Cities Challenge)

The Rockefeller Foundation is now accepting applications for its “100 Resilient Cities Challenge,” which will fund $100 million worth of resiliency projects in cities around the world.

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Hollywood’s Freeway Cap Park Begins Environmental Review Process

4b-la-freeway-park4a-la-freeway-park

 

We’ve been following Los Angeles’ several proposed Freeway Cap Parks (in Downtown LA, Hollywood, and Santa Monica among other places) for years now, with a healthy amount of skepticism. But the first of these is (really? really!) moving toward reality. Friends of the Hollywood Central Park, a non-profit organizing a cap park over the 101 Freeway near the center of Hollywood, along with LA’s Department of Recreation and Parks have begun the environmental review process for the transformative 38-acre space.

Continue reading after the jump.

Michigan’s first bus rapid transit line launches today in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids, home to Michigan's first bus rapid transit line. (Ian Freimuth via Flickr)

Grand Rapids, home to Michigan’s first bus rapid transit line. (Ian Freimuth via Flickr)

Michigan‘s first bus rapid transit line launches this week, whisking passengers from downtown Grand Rapids through the city’s “Medical Mile” and south suburbs—a 9.6-mile journey that used to take 45 minutes will now be only a 27-minute commute, reported mlive.com.

Continue reading after the jump.

Scientists say Beijing will be covered in a cloud of air pollution for 16 more years

City Terrain, International
Friday, August 22, 2014
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Forbidden City in the Smog (John Chandler/Flickr)

Forbidden City in the Smog (John Chandler/Flickr)

The air in Beijing, China is dirty, and a new report suggests it won’t be getting cleaner any time soon. Beijing residents received the grim news from the Beijing Municipal Research Institute of Environmental Protection regarding the city’s air pollution levels. Following studies done by the institute, researcher Pan Tao has estimated the return of safe air pollution levels in 2030. The World Health Organization has stated in the past that the concentration of PM2.5, particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less per cubic meter, should not exceed 35 micrograms per cubic meter. In 2013, however, the level of PM2.5 in Beijing measured 89.5 micrograms per meter.

Construction finally underway on Detroit’s 3.3-mile-long M-1 rail line

The 80-foot, 3,000-pound rails that will become the M1 Rail track have begun to arrive in Detroit. (Courtesy image - M1 Rail)

The 80-foot, 3,000-pound rails that will become the M1 Rail track have begun to arrive in Detroit. (Courtesy M1 Rail)

After years of planning, Detroit‘s M-1 Rail Line took an important step into physical reality this week, as piles of 80-foot-long, 3,000-pound rails arrived on construction sites that will build the 3.3 mile streetcar line by the end of 2016. Read More

Redevelopment projects piling up along the Los Angeles River

View of the new Marsh Park (SMMC Archives)

View of the Marsh Park expansion (SMMC Archives)

Although the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has yet to secure funding for its planned $1 billion restoration of the Los Angeles River, projects along the waterway’s banks are sprouting up regularly, including parks, cafes, trails, and even new buildings. The latest, reported KCET, is the Elysian Valley Marsh Park, a three-acre landscape expansion on what was once an auto body complex in LA’s Elysian Valley neighborhood.

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Chicago Placemaking Festival Aims to teach Old Places New Tricks

Art, City Terrain, Midwest, Urbanism
Friday, August 15, 2014
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(Metropolitan Planning Council)

(Metropolitan Planning Council)

In a few short years, the term placemaking has migrated from wonky urban planning circles to neighborhoods across the country—that communities come together around public space is no groundbreaking observation, but when successful the idea can be revolutionary on a local scale.

So hopes Chicago’s Metropolitan Planning Council, who this weekend will sponsor “Old Place New Tricks,” a bid to “activate” neighborhoods from Englewood to Ravenswood with public space interventions that range from a “healthy eating happy hour” to “Selfie Sunday.”

More info after the jump.

Pictorial> New photos illuminate Cleveland’s “AHA!” festival of lights

“The Global Rainbow” in Cleveland by artist Yvette Mattern. (frank lanza)

“The Global Rainbow” in Cleveland by artist Yvette Mattern. (Frank Lanza)

Last week AN plugged an event that aimed to turn downtown Cleveland into a festival of lights. Sure enough, colorful projections flooded the walls of downtown cultural institutions while a massive rainbow arched over the city and iridescent discs of rainbow light saw curious Clevelanders clambering about.

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Van Alen Institute Launches Competition Seeking Land Reuse Strategies for New Orleans

(Courtesy Van Alen)

(Courtesy Van Alen)

Earlier this month, the Van Alen Institute announced Future Ground, an international design competition that is hoping to attract fresh strategies for reusing the many vacant lots that dot New Orleans. The competition is seeking submissions from landscape designers, architects, planners, public policy wonks, and pretty much anybody in the business of shaping urban environments and is supported by the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), which owns more than 2,000 vacant lots.

There are somewhere around 30,000 empty lots and abandoned structures throughout New Orleans today, most of them left by Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the city in 2005. As the 10-year anniversary of the storm approaches, Future Ground is looking to create design and policy strategies capable of adapting to changes in density, demand, climate, and landscape in New Orleans over the next half-century in an effort to turn these abandoned landscapes into lasting resources.

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